NORMAN — There were few dry eyes inside Norman’s First Christian Church this past Thursday night as Steve and Barbara Owens shared their love for each other and Norman’s Thunderbird Clubhouse.
The longtime Norman couple received the Sam Matthews Social Justice Award from The Xenia Institute. Their nomination was for support of the clubhouse, but also their commitment to seeing the value of all people.
“They never met a stranger and they don’t treat anyone differently. They are just two kids fromMiami, Oklahoma,” The Xenia Institute’s Bob Thomas said.
Steve Owens, the 1969 Heisman Trophy winner, accepted the award but said the credit should be shared with others on their team. He also saluted past award recipients.
“All the past recipients are my heroes,” he said.
He told of wanting to quit OU and come home to Miami. Instead, he and Barbara got engaged and were married in 1967, and she’s been encouraging him ever since.
“I needed someone to help me,” he said. “She was truly the toughest coach I ever had.”
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